Game 3 in Edmonton, start approx 2200 Eastern.
Looks like my experiment last game didn't work. And it's a triple overtime.
First shift, BG Peca Moreau. Puck went into the Oilers end, Pronger let Cheechoo get to the puck in the corner and hit him.
Second shift Stoll Hemsky Samsonov, Hemsky looking good right away.
Pronger tried to line up Cheechoo again - looks like he's got a mission. Bergeron nailed Grant Stevenson with a nice hipcheck on the boards.
Stoll's line had the Sharks hemmed up for an extended period of rtime, Hocoff's line came on, and of course it led to a penalty. Winchester put one off the post, he's looking pretty good too. The Oilers don't seem to be having too much trouble making the zone this game so far.
First PP went not so well, but the second... hrm, Samsonov in the middle of the ice at the circles with three Sharks on him, no puck support there as the blueliners hung back and the other forwards went to the net. Good idea? I don't think so. Bergeron put a hard one on net, great shot as he was left all alone, a Shark made the redirect and in it went.
Steve Staios led the first rush and hammered Scott Hannan into the boards, then got kicked in the face - tough luck guy. I knew a guy in the militia like that, sharp objects just seemed attracted to him.
Late in the first, the Sharks started coming to life a bit - looked like an Oilers game from early in the season.
Matt Greene ices the puck a bit too much for my taste - Murray schooled Joe Thornton on the faceoff after.
Second period, the Oilers came out a bit flat, and Marleau's line made them pay - Spacek went fishing after knocking Roloson a bit and then Marleau had the open net. (God, I agreed with Millen. You'll have to take my word for it - I typed that before he said it.)
Thornton PP - Oilers are still a bit slow passing the puck around, at least with the first unit. They're giving the Sharks a bit of time to react. Second unit wasn't much better either, then Samsonov took a bad tripping penalty - the Shark tried to trip him back, but missed. Two minutes for cheating competently.
Terrible play leading up to the second Sharks goal. Edmonton needs a bit more of what they started out with and a bit less of what they did in G1 and 2.
Chris Pronger scored an own-face on Ryan Smyth - he'll owe him a beer for that one. Blood all over the ice, ouch. Edmonton didn't do much with a short PP, then Laraque almost drove Cheechoo's head through the boards - he got 5 minutes and a misconduct out of it. Cheechoo ducked a bit - not sure it was a totally dirty hit, but he did some damage and it was a nasty shot, so that's that. Some of my fellow Oilers fans were calling for MacTavish to shorten the bench, looks like he won't have a choice now.
I'm not sure why the CBC guys are drooling over the Sharks getting outshot 15-2 in the first and only going down by 1 - that's essentially what the Oilers did in games 1 and 2, they weren't drooling then. Ah well. Totally missed call on a high stick on Staios. Joe Thornton took a goalie interference call - payback for Staios? Millen thinks Roloson might have drawn it - nah, it if was marginal it was for Staios.
Late in the second, Bergeron and Pronger were out - late change for somebody, or is MacT switching up the lines a bit? Jason Smith's stickwork has been on this game.
Three goalie interference calls in a row for the Sharks - Ron Wilson doesn't know whether to poop or go blind, it looks like. I'm not quite sure why Marleau got called on that one, but c'est la vie - maybe that was the make up call for Staios. Ah, Millen corrected - it was regular ol' interference.
2nd intermission - Hrudey thinks Laraque didn't deserve a 5 minute penalty, I agree. He thinks Pronger should have had a penalty on Bernier; I agree there too. I remember thinking at the time it was a dirty hit, but the Shark wasn't hurt so there was no call.
3rd period, PP. Spacek must be listening to me too much, now he refuses to shoot the puck on the power play, he just kept passing to Pronger or Hemsky. Sorry, please shoot again, it's better to try and miss than it is to give the puck away on a bad pass.
Peca made a beauty of a hit dodge, nice pass to Torres as #4 (MacLaren?) took himself out of the play, and Toskala outwaited him. Not much later, Samsonov and Stoll got sprung, but couldn't make much happen.
Smyth obviously isn't letting his missing chiclets slow him down much: he was back in front of the net on the PP, and he threw a pretty nice hit at about 5m. Around 5:40 he tried a wraparound and then went right to the front - yeah, he's still got his game.
Poor Nils Ekman - he finally came back after blocking a shot, and Greene destroyed him in the corner in his own end on the pinch. Then not much later, Greene made a pass right through his crease to Bergeron - aiee. Shades of Janne Niinimaa.
9:30 or so, Moreau Smyth and Horcoff were all out - I guess Moreau's playing the RW now with BG out. That, or MacTavish is putting together the toothless line. The Oilers gained the zone shortly after that and the Sharks gave the puck right to Bergeron, who made a good shot and Toskala made a better glove save. Next shift after that, it was Smyth with Stoll and Moreau. Then Horcoff with Moreau and Samsonov, I guess Moreau's doubleshifting on his off-wing no less. Maybe I'm just missing some partial changes.
TV timeout, and the Oilers came out with Horc, Smyth, and Moreau again.
Great breakout, Pronger to Stoll up the RHS and then across to Torres on the left wing, and Torres made a perfect shot, a hard wrister, just over Toskala's glove, and it's a tie game. At least however this one turns out, it won't be 2-1 again, and the Sharks can't trap any more. Yup, 2 in at first and then the third. As Millen said, the Sharks shouldn't have hung back, they should have kept right on doing what they'd been doing because it obviously worked.
Aiee, terrible breakdown and the puck went to Cheechoo to Thornton with Roloson out of the net and Horcoff making snow angels in the crease. Right after Moreau and Samsonov and Stoll had it going on. Man, who's getting more icetime in the third, Moreau or Pronger?
Nasty shot by MacLaren on Stoll to lay the stick into his side after the Sharks gave away the puck and Stoll had a good chance. Torres, Peca, and Pisani were out in the last minute - some might say Peca's a poor choice, but Pisani and Torres are proven gamebreakers these playoffs. Poor Torres, got called off for an interview right after the period was over and he'd played about 3 minutes of the last 5, first time I've heard a player apologize for being out of breath. (You know he's Canookian when...)
Overtime - all other things being equal, I like hockey, but I like sleep on worknights too. It's because I cracked a fresh beer with 5 minutes left, I know it.
OT saw Hemsky reunited with Smyth and Horcoff. Dangerous passes and icings aside, I like Greene's game so far - he's been hitting and pinching well (which is to say, not often).
Joe thornton made a rare mistake, let Peca go to the net, and then some more intense Oilers pressure - I was afraid that we'd see the classic "tons of chances at one end, then puck goes back the other way and in" but no such luck for the Sharks. Good pressure from the Sharks, then some more from the Oilers. Jason Smith's having a great game, some decent shots and pinches, monster hits, and great defensive plays.
Moreau's playing with Samsonov and Stoll - guess he has a new position, at least til next game.
Puck magnet Steve Staios drew a penalty from Ehrhoff, Edmonton needs to make something happen even if they don't score. Smyth had a good chance right off the bat, and then some skating and passing led to a great chance by Spacek, who couldn't handle the loose puck, and then another good chance for Smyth. Toskala's finally getting a chance to show he's a good goalie too. Faceoff, then another chance for Smyth at the edge of the net just as the penalty expired, but the pass was high and Gorges was right there.. Yeah, I'd say they made stuff happen, they had more chances on that PP than they did through the entirety of the first game I'd say.
Peca came out with Horcoff and Moreau for a defensive zone faceoff - maybe MacT just wanted two centres out for the faceoff, and Stoll had just gotten a bunch of time on the PP. We won't even consider Murray, who's likely wondering if he'll be on a milk carton tomorrow - quick eyeball of the graphical shift chart shows a shift early in the third, and nothing since. (Maybe MacTavish is saving him for a Klima in 3OT? Ah, hah! There he is on the bench, he's not dead or kidnapped at least.) MacTavish a poor bench coach? How about the little delay after they iced the puck and he'd used his timeout?
Middle couple of minutes of first OT - some good pressure by SJ. They're walking it to the Oilers with about 8-7 minutes left. Reverted to Edmonton though - 1OT was mostly Oilers.
2nd overtime. Cheechoo's taking some abuse, Smith put him into the boards less than a minute in. MacLaren hammered Samsonov as Sammy was clearing the puck out of the zone - good to see the skill guys willing to pay the price defensively, especially in OT.
Moreau's creating tons of chances. Edmonton iced the puck, Thornton took the faceoff for the Sharks, and Millen was saying "that's a faceoff Edmonton doesn't mind" - well, the stats show Stoll owning Thornton, I think they'd prefer that one. Sure enough, Big Joe beat Horc. Dangerous chance by Bernier from Marleau, then very briefly later, Roloson made a huge save on Ekman. The Oilers were tired, and Pronger made a rare mistake and iced it.
Another quick glance at the shift chart, and Winchester is MOA too - Edmonton's played two full periods on essentially three forward lines.
Middle of 2OT saw Pisani lining up with Horcoff and Smyth - I get the feeling MacTavish is just throwing out the guys who are least tired now. Stoll has a little move he does with his faceoffs - he taps the end of his stick on the ice just as the puck drops.
Roloson made a mistake \@11:20 left or so, Thornton and Cheechoo almost converted twice, and now the momentum's going back the other way. Hemsky and Smyth went in on a good rush, and back at the Sharks. 2OT and we're back to "old school" NHL, with Smyth and Horcoff both getting buried in front of the net on what likely would have been interference in the first or seciond periods.
Some great chances by Thornton after a Shark stole Stoll's stick, and some beauty saves by Roloson on Thornton and then shortly later on Cheechoo off a Thornton feed - great glove save. He at least matched Toskala's earlier glove on that one.
Hannan's getting away with a few, he hauled Horcoff down behind the net, but I get the feeling the only reason the Oilers haven't had some missed calls in their defensive zone is because the referees haven't had a lot of chances to miss. Hitting is slacking off a lot too - can't say as I blame them, especially since the Oilers have been playing 9 forwards for almost a full three periods now.
2 minutes left in 2OT, Edmonton's again having some problems gaining the zone, the Sharks are having a bit more success, but aren't doing a great deal with their chances. OK, so much for Edmonton getting away with some - Stoll hauled down Cheechoo. Boourns, Hannan's pulling down Horcoff was worse. Huh, apparently he took it at 38:49 - they must mean of overtime time. I think if Edmonton can kill this, they'll win the game... aand, we're going to triple overtime.
The only way you can tell Pronger is tired is he's not hitting guys as much or as hard - the man is a machine. Everybody else is fumbly and putting themselves (or somebody else) offisde, but Pronger looks less tired than I feel. And then Horcoff ended it on a weird play from a pair of Sharks giveaways that wound up in front of the net due to some hard work by Ryan "Chiclets" Smyth - I didn't think I could take much more of this. 20 minutes to 3, and I'm glad I did the recaps near the end of the third because it's pretty much bedtime.
This game puts the Oilers right back in the series. They've shown they can outplay the Sharks at their own game... hah, they showed the players leaving the ice and all the Oilers were knocking fists with Horcoff, Roloson went and gave him a great huge hug.
What the Oilers did right: kept the hitting up, tested Toskala much more, got the puck in deep more often. They showed why they were the second-best faceoff team in the league over the 82 game pre-season.
What the Oilers did wrong: not a lot, beyond not being able to capitalize in the first period. Weak second period. Power play could have done better.
What the Sharks did right: hit and played tough, more of the same from games 1 and 2. The hit counter shows the Sharks with few hits - I don't think they've had as few as they've been credited with.
What the Sharks did wrong: tried to trap in the third with the lead, playing 1-2-2 or 1-4. Untrained eyeball says they weren't hitting as much or as effectively as they had been in G1 and 2. Marleau's line, and Marleau in particular, seemed much slower.
Best Oiler: Ethan Moreau. Best Shark: Vesa Toskala.